The Libraries will preview their newly redesigned website to the public beginning on April 12, 2017 . The site, located at library.syr.edu, complies with new University branding guidelines and design elements. It has been in development since late fall 2015.
The project’s primary goals were to create an accessible, responsive design that will automatically resize for any type of device being used. This capability is increasingly important as information access migrates to the mobile environment.
The full launch of the new site is being planned for sometime after mid-May.
Project team members include Daniel Rice, project manager, Cindy Barry, web specialist (now working for the College of Visual and Performing Arts), Pamela Thomas, web and emerging technologies librarian, and Pamela McLaughlin, communications director.
An early and crucial part of the redesign process was to conduct a thorough analysis of the existing site’s usage. Those findings enabled developers to place the most heavily used resources prominently in the new design. This user-centered approach downplays internal organizational silos, which can obscure important informational content.
The project engaged stakeholders from across the Libraries. Web staff reviewed usage data with content owners and affirmed the core content for the new site. To keep staff informed of progress over many months, the project team maintained a blog that highlighted current activities and engaged staff in providing feedback on specific questions and touchpoints. The team also hosted an all–staff open forum and provided periodic updates for the Libraries Management Team.
During the early part of the spring 2017 semester, Learning Commons librarians Tarida Anantachai and John Stawarz conducted hands-on user testing with a group of current students and faculty members. Using a variety of types of devices, individuals were asked to complete a series of tasks on the new site using the “talk aloud” protocol. John and Tarida captured the testers’ actions, as well as their comments about their decision-making process, difficulties they encountered, and general observations about the site. A number of adjustments were made to the design, presentation, and navigation based on their discoveries.
Work on the site will continue until the production launch. Feedback is always welcome at syr.libsurveys.com/web-feedback.